On Wednesday, April 4, Al Hassan Ag Abdoul Aziz Ag Mohamed Ag Mahmoud, the Malian national accused of religious and gender‑based persecution, made his initial appearance before a pre-trial judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The main purpose of the appearance, which was held at the seat of the court in The Hague, was to confirm Al Hassan’s identity and to ascertain that he understands the charges against him.
Al Hassan, 40, was transferred to the ICC detention center on March 31, 2018, four days after judges issued a warrant for his arrest. Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda praised the West African country of Mali – a member of the ICC – for cooperating with the court by swiftly surrendering the accused.
The … Continue Reading
He was abducted three times and spent over 10 years in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), where he served as a force signaler. After he finally escaped, he was granted amnesty by the Ugandan government. This article explores the perspectives of this former long-serving LRA fighter regarding the trial of Dominic Ongwen, whom he met and served with while in captivity. In this article, we shall refer to him as “Omara” to protect his identity. Omara expressed his opinion about the trial during an interview conducted with him in northern Uganda in March 2018.
Ongwen, a former LRA commander is currently on trial at International Criminal Court (ICC), where he is charged with over 70 counts of war crimes and crimes … Continue Reading
Guatemala’s most notorious dictator, retired army general José Efraín Ríos Montt, died last Sunday of a heart attack at the age of 91. Ríos Montt came to power in a military coup d’état on March 23, 1982. He was deposed just 17 months later, on August 7, 1983, in a military coup orchestrated by his Minister of Defense, Oscar Humberto Mejía Víctores.
Guatemala experienced extremely high levels of violence during its 36-year internal armed conflict. An estimated 200,000 people were killed, 45,000 disappeared, and tens of thousands forcibly displaced or exiled, along with countless victims of torture and sexual violence. According to the UN-sponsored Historical Clarification Commission (CEH), Ríos Montt continued and amplified the scorched-earth policy designed and implemented by his … Continue Reading
Guatemala is in the process of selecting its next attorney general to serve a four-year term: May 2018-May 2022. Because the process and result could have tremendous implications for grave crimes trials and the rule of law in Guatemala, the International Justice Monitor is providing regular situation reports.
Thirty Candidates Remain Viable
Thirty candidates to become Guatemala’s next attorney general remain in the running. After the Nominating Commission narrowed the field of applicants from 39 to 25 in late February, it reinstated four candidates following consideration of their appeals against exclusion. A fifth candidate, Mynor Francisco Hernández Castillo, successfully appealed to the Constitutional Court to be reinstated. (A list all 30 remaining applicants is at the end of this post.)
From March 13-15, the … Continue Reading
Les avocats de l’accusé de crimes de guerre Bosco Ntaganda ont conclu la présentation de leurs moyens après avoir appelé 19 témoins à témoigner devant la Cour pénale internationale (CPI). Le nombre de témoins qui ont apporté un témoignage en faveur de l’ancien commandant rebelle congolais est bien plus faible que les 111 personnes que la défense avait précédemment indiqué vouloir appeler.
Selon l’avocat de la défense Stéphane Bourgon, la défense a appelé quatre témoins qui ont apporté une déposition orale au siège de la Cour et huit autres témoins qui ont témoigné à distance par le biais d’un lien vidéo. Parmi ces témoins figurait M. Ntaganda, qui a témoigné pendant près de 120 heures sur une période de six semaines.
De plus, les témoignages de sept … Continue Reading
Lawyers for war crimes accused Bosco Ntaganda have closed their case after calling 19 witnesses to testify at the International Criminal Court (ICC). The number of witnesses who gave evidence for the former Congolese rebel commander is much lower than the 111 individuals whom the defense had earlier indicated it would call.
According to defense lawyer Stéphane Bourgon, the defense called four witnesses that testified orally at the seat of the court in The Hague and another eight who testified remotely through the use of video link. Among the witnesses was Ntaganda himself, who testified for up to 120 hours over six weeks.
In addition, the evidence of seven defense witnesses was admitted through Rule 68 of the court’s Rules of Procedure … Continue Reading
The prosecution in the Molina Theissen trial has called four witnesses over the course of two hearings this week. On Monday, March 26, the prosecution called Dr. Julieta Carla Rostica, an Argentine sociologist who specializes in Central American studies and has investigated Argentine military training to Guatemala, and Ruth del Valle, a classmate of Emma Molina Theissen whose brother, Julio del Valle, was Emma’s boyfriend, and who was killed in 1980. On Tuesday, March 27, two expert witnesses from the Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG) testified about the search for individuals who were the victims of enforced disappearance during the Guatemalan civil war (1960-1996).
Rostica’s expert testimony was particularly important. Drawing on Argentine military documents and declassified U.S. government documents, she testified … Continue Reading
A survivor of a Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attack on the Lukodi camp for internally displaced (IDP) people 13 years ago told the International Criminal Court (ICC) that most homes in the camp were burned during the attack.
Witness P-187, who testified on Thursday and Friday, told the court the LRA abducted her during the attack and made her carry food. She said as they trekked away from Lukodi, she saw LRA fighters throw babies and children into the bush because they were crying.
The witness was testifying in the trial of a former LRA commander, Dominic Ongwen, who has been charged with 13 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged role in the Lukodi attack. In total, … Continue Reading
An endeavor by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct part of a trial hearing in a situation country has failed once again, after judges trying former militia commander Bosco Ntaganda abandoned their intention to hold closing arguments in his trial in Congo.
In a March 16, 2018 decision, the judges said that because of “the present security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo,” and “the preparation time required for any such hearing to be arranged,” they did not intend to recommend to the court’s Presidency that closing statements be held in situ. They added, however, that they may consider holding certain other future hearings in situ, if deemed appropriate and feasible.
The town of Bunia, which bore the … Continue Reading
The Attorney General’s Office called four protected witnesses to testify in the sixth hearing of the Molina Theissen case held on Monday, March 19. The individuals, going by pseudonyms witnesses B, C, D, and E, gave their testimony via video conference from the Attorney General’s Office in Guatemala City. These precautionary measures were taken because of the security risks they face by giving their testimony in the case.
The witnesses included a woman who cared for Emma Molina Theissen in the days after she escaped military detention, who spoke to her physical and emotional condition. Another person testified about the forced disappearance of her father, which he witnessed, and two siblings. The third witness described the torture he endured while in … Continue Reading